The Reasons I Offer Customized Theatre Lesson Bundles
Recently, I’ve helped several theatre teachers organize their curriculum. Some states have standards which they press upon their school systems and boy, can you feel it. Not so for two wonderful teachers I worked with last week. So, let’s talk about the reasons I offer customized theatre lessons bundles.
One teacher, we will call her Amy, emailed me frantic for help. Amy was hired (yes, it’s November) to take over for another theatre teacher who had been out most of the school year. The students survived many substitutes and now finally, they’d have a real theatre teacher. She didn’t really know what she was walking into when she arrived her first day.
Amy knew she’d be teaching middle school students and see them every day for the rest of the year. However, she didn’t know the demographics, number of students in each class (or at least didn’t mention them to me) or seem to know just about anything else you’d like to know when you begin teaching a class.
The Reasons I Offer Customized Theatre Lesson Bundles
To top it all off, she was given no curriculum or materials. Now, you would think this was unusual. It isn’t. You would not believe how many schools I’ve taught for and I began my classes with no school materials having to use only mine instead. (Pssst. That’s why I have so many prepared.)
I offer customized bundles in my teacherspayteachers.com store (DramaMommaSpeaks) and Amy knew that. We chatted several times about what she was needing and I put together a bundle specifically for her and I created a plan of teaching them.
Customized Bundles are the way to go, regardless of how many resources you want. You always receive some sort of discount-10 to 20%. With large bundles, I give you a free resource I pick especially for you, too.
(This is not Amy or Joan.)
Then there’s Joan
Another teacher, we will call her Joan, emailed at just about the same time as Amy. Her scenario was different. She was hired with a provisional license and agreed to take additional college hours to complete the license. Joan was a mother of two small children as well.
Joan asked to Zoom with me as soon as possible. That’s how much she needed the help. She used several of my lessons in her classes all ready and the students liked them.
Joan was a bit older, had previously worked as an actress and youth theatre teacher. She knew her stuff, but in this particular case her materials just weren’t working as well as she’d like them to. She thought of mine. Want a Creative Dramatics lesson for FREE?
Joan had the most insane teaching load of which I’ve ever heard. The core teachers decided how much time their students would spend with the “specials” not the administration. Every teacher wanted a different amount of time. (Can you imagine?)
Her schedule was all over the place. For instance, at the second level one teacher wanted her once a week, another teacher wanted her twice a week and another three times a week. What is that?
I advised her to speak to her principal about this and request that if she stays next year her schedule needs to be be more uniform. Oh and I forgot to tell you–she starts with kindergarten and first next semester (but of course, only next semester.)
Let’s just make this even more difficult for Joan.
Joan needed materials for second through eighth and she really need my help in organizing the rest of the year for her. I organized a customized bundle for her with about twenty lessons. If she follows my plan I included, she can teach all of them the components of theatre before the end of the year and get everyone on the same page. It sounded like she’d been jumping around and trying different things which may have worked but weren’t very comprehensive. That’s okay. It’s not earth shattering.
The students still learn no matter what you teach them. That’s obvious but man, does that drive a teacher crazy if they are usually an organized person.
I could write an entire blog post about how the arts are treated in schools, but I’m not going to do so today. I can say if you are in a similar situation to Joan, either go to your principal and complain about the teaching load or look for another job. The only way this situation will change is if you are the squeaky wheel. Also by doing so, you may help the other “specials” teachers in your bulding. Maybe you can meet with the principal as a group?
Some Sage Advice
Amy didn’t know how to begin her first classes. I could help her there, too. There are certain processes you should follow when you begin teaching. In this case, we are pbviously teaching theatre so ours are a bit different.
Here are my suggestions for Amy to teach her students:
- Write a teacher’s letter introducing yourself to the students and their parents
- Quiz your students assessing how much the students all ready knew.
- Begin with a week of theatre games to see how comfortable the students are in front of each other
- Post your expectations around the room and discuss them with your class (involve them in writing them if you feel comfortable doing so)
- Give time each day for the students to share about themselves. Do this while taking roll. I like to ask one question each day. Require a quick answer. For instance, possible questions–what is your favorite candy? your favorite movie?
- Be consistent! If you begin the class with a warm-up and end with a cool down, do the same thing every day as much as possible. Students thrive with consistency.
- Remember that you know more than the students do just by the fact that you have life experiences to bring to the lessons you teach.
8. Find out if you have a budget and how much of it is for particular materials if it is allocated (such as textbooks, art supplies, etc.)
9. If you haven’t done so already, ask for any IEPs or 504 plans which are used in core classes with your students. You have a right to know about a student’s learning challenges and behavior modifications just as much as a core class teacher.
10. Locate the copier–find out if you can copy as much as you need or you have a limit
11.Locate the computer room incase you want to take the students there to do on line quizzes or lessons
12. Find a teacher friend–that takes a bit of time but there should be someone there who you can eat lunch with (not by yourself in your room) and vent to. Some of my best friends are my teacher friends even after all these year and now retired.
13. Take time for yourself every day when you arrive home. Take a walk around the block. Nap, read or paint. Do something every day which is just for yourself. Don’t be like my husband (also a teacher) and retire from your career and realize you have no hobbies or leisure skills because you wouldn’t take the time for yourself. That’s one of his biggest regrets I only recently found out.
I hope these two teacher scenarios and tips help you as you plan your class. Remember, you can do this–you just need a process, a procedure, to follow and know the steps to follow.
If you want to check out my customized bundles, go to: DramaMommaSpeaks
Please feel free to email me at DhcBaldwin@gmail.com if you have any questions or you, too want a customized bundle.